The Wolverine

March 2014

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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  WHERE ARE THEY NOW? BY JOHN BORTON A parishioner sensing a sermon directed right at him can sometimes feel a bit unnerved. In the case of former Michigan All-American Marlin Jackson, the direct message brought reassurance. He's done it all in football, from the Rose Bowl to the Super Bowl, and the ravages of the game took their toll. After bouncing from the NFL's Indianapolis Colts to the Philadelphia Eagles and into football limbo in September 2011, he faced a tough decision. His agent asked if he had interest in the United Football League, which required him overcoming a ruptured Achilles tendon, a sports hernia and back issues. "I was like, I don't want it that bad," Jackson recalled. "In the past, if I would have been asked that, I probably would have jumped all over it. I knew right there and then, my passion for the game of football was no longer at the level it was when I started playing." Then came the confirmation. "I took a week to think about it," he said. "I went to church, and the sermon at church was about letting go and moving on, how your calling might be even greater than what you were doing before. I thought those were direct words to me. "I listened and I moved on. It was a freeing feeling, closing that chapter of my life and moving on to the next chapter." The next chapter involves something bigger than himself, just like Jackson's coach, Lloyd Carr, preached back in the Michigan team meeting room. The genesis for Jackson's present passion occurred way back then. The U-M standout from 2001-04 always thought far beyond the field. He'd grown up in Sharon, Pa., without a dad and set adrift with his siblings by a drug-addicted mom. In many ways, he never found a nurturing environment until he reached Ann Arbor. There, the seeds of comfort and responsibility not   WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Marlin Jackson Finds A Higher Purpose After Football After six seasons in the NFL, Jackson retired and established the Fight For Life Foundation — which was created to give underprivileged kids stability, hope and a better future. PHOTO COURTESY MARLIN JACKSON

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